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Dodgers: Nelson Cruz Has An Interest In Signing With Los Angeles

The long-time DH would like to play in LA if there is a DH.



The Dodgers are running out of options if their plan is to add a major piece before the 2021 season. The free-agent market has picked up in recent weeks, and big names are starting to fall off of the board the closer it gets to Spring Training. 

The Dodgers have made it clear this offseason that adding a right-handed bat is one of their goals. Andrew Friedman repeated that several times while speaking with the media since December. While there are still question about the universal DH, Los Angeles is likely to keep its options open on that front. 

One potential option is 40-year-old Nelson Cruz, who would only sign a deal to be a team’s DH. The latest report by The Athletic is that Cruz is in conversations to re-sign with Minnesota, but that he is intrigued by the Dodgers. 

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Two things would likely have to happen for the Dodgers to sign Cruz. They would have to be sure of the universal DH, and they would likely have to miss out on re-signing Justin Turner. Having a guy without the flexibility that they’re used to would drastically change the way Dave Roberts and the team approach a daily lineup. For that reason, having JT and Cruz on the same team doesn’t quite match up.

Don’t let the age fool you when you’re considering Nelson Cruz. He hit 16 homeruns in 53 games in 2020, making it 260 dingers over the last 7 seasons. That number includes the 60 game season played last year. The Dodgers are obviously not a stranger to the long ball, so inserting Cruz at the number 3 or 4 spot could be a wild addition. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Another reason why I like the DH besides adding offense and most of all protecting your pitchers who are usually a team’s biggest investment. Players that are limited physically by injury or age can still contribute. Look at the achievements of players like Big Papi.

  2. If there is a universal DH, forget Cruz and give Turner 3-guaranteed years. In fact, I would rather have Ozuna as he can at least play some defense. Teams seem to be heading away from players who can only DH, opting to alternate regulars as a means of rest while giving team more defensive flexibility.

  3. If the universal DH goes through there would be no reason not to give Turner a three year contract and no real reason to sign Cruz. What this really shows is that after decades of Chavez being perceived a graveyard for big bats, there is now a sense that it is a hitters park.

  4. Saw an article on MLB.com stating the MLBPA has said no to the NL Dh and the runner at second in extra innings. The article made it sound like it’s a done deal, but could be a negociating tactic. If there is a DH, I don’t agree with the writer that if (and a huge IF) the Dodgers were to sign Cruz, they can’t still sign Turner as these two do different things, and keeps another RH bat in the lineup. Unless it’s a money thing.

    • On MLBN, they interviewed managers, GMs alike as well as players and they ALL want the DH. And nobody would look forward to pitchers having to bat, risk injury and lessen the offense that the entire game it says wants to improve on it.

  5. It’s my understanding the universal DH was rejected by the Players Union for 2021. Even if it was on table, I think the Dodgers would use it the same way they did la st season. Being able to give guys a defensive day off without losing their bat. It wouldn’t make sense to have a 40 year old that is only a DH.

    • No to Nelson Cruz. Like everyone else, we can use the DH (if it comes) for giving players a rest in the field. And then the obvious answer that everyone else is seeing (drum roll please) Justin Turner. He can transition into the role and we can still use the DH for rest for Will Smith from behind the plate, etc.

  6. Sign Turner but pay him only for half year cause he only plays part time due to him always gets hurt.or even better let him walk. Will can DH with barnes catching.

  7. Cause it’s time Rios play everyday can’t afford to have a capable 50 hrs a year player for a part time player like JT. Sorry but at least he has his ring.And Rios can double his production. Time to let Rios and Lux let loose even if they struggle we have enough fire power with great pitching.

    • He won’t hit 50 or even 40 but he could get 30-35, it would be great for the regular season but you don’t know what you’ll get in the postseason. He could end up being a .250 guy with power which doesn’t win titles. I want Turner with Rios getting AB’s on off days and injuries, as well as pinch hitting

  8. Now all bandwagoners that wanted our talented players traded for Arenado and Lindor will see how they do in real stadium not their friendly hitting parks they’re use to.

  9. Thanks, but no thanks Nelson. We have plenty of guys who no know how to hit. And they can actually play in the field too. Personally, I prefer complete ballplayers. So many people seem to worry about JT being 36 years old. Hey this guy is 40. JT may not win any gold gloves at the 3B, but he doesn’t need a wheelchair either. He can still get it done, DH or no DH. If a DH does happen, and I hope it doesn’t because I like real baseball, JT could get occasional rests at the DH spot. Will Smith could DH while Barnes catches. We don’t need a one trick pony. We have guys who can play the game with versatility right now. Just re-sign JT. Let’s get on with the back to back championship run

  10. Have not seen him lately but Cruz was an awesome power bat. If Dodgers lose Turner and other choices are not available, he’s worth a flyer. Friedman knows what he’s doing.

    • I don’t think we need Cruz, but I agree with you that he has put up big numbers, and not just in the distant past. The guy has over 400 home runs. He has a lot of power. He is a RHB, which the Dodgers still need. Age is just a number. And the numbers say that Turner can still play the game just fine, and Cruz can still hit. It’s not out of the question that that Friedman would go one year on him if the DH is in, and still keep JT at 3B.

  11. I’ll take my bet on JT and a 4 year contract anytime over pissing away whatever the Dodgers are thinking about on Cruz for a year or two at 40 years of age. Just sayin….

  12. I would pass on a player who doesn’t play defense. Dodgers have plenty of guys who can be rotated into the DH spot, and given a day-off from defensive chores. They don’t need a one dimensional player like Cruz

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